Orphan First Kill – Review

It’s been 13 years since Isabelle Fuhrman first sent audiences shocked with that wild twist in Orphan, so it’s no wonder we were all surprised to hear that the actress would be reprising the role in the prequel, Orphan: First Kill. The trailer built so much hype and curiosity over how they’re going to pull this off.

How do you do a sequel to Orphan when you already know the twist and (spoiler alert ) the antagonist is dead? The expected solution to the story would be to repeat the same story with a different family, a different orphan, and perhaps a different outcome.

Orphan: First Kill does much better than that, and substantially so, this is a prequel to the origin. The film starts in Estonia in 2007 when Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) is known as Leena, a 30-year-old woman imprisoned in an asylum for the criminally insane. She is known as the most dangerous patient, and came to the asylum two years ago, after she cunningly moved in with a family, appearing as a sympathetic runaway. That lasted until she murdered the family.

Leena murders her way out of the asylum and into the home of the new (and short-lived) art therapist Anna. It is here that Leenadoes some research on missing kids online until she finds one that she could pass for… as Esther. She dresses the part and places herself in a playground, alone at night. When a police officer finds her and asks where her parents are, she simply says, “America.”

Tricia (Julia Stiles) and Allen (Rossif Sutherland) Albright are stunned and overjoyed to discover their daughter, taken four years ago, has been discovered in Russia, while Gunnar (Matthew Finlan), their teenage son, is less excited. All they are told is that she was kidnapped by a woman and passed off as the abductor’s child, and to be prepared for changes. Yet no one questions that Esther seems remarkably well-adjusted after her ordeal. 

Tricia goes alone on the family’s private jet to pick up Esther and take her back to the family’s lush estate home. Leena chose the right family to fake her way into.

Orphan: First Kill may not have a shocking twist like Orphan, but an equally suited one that reveals itself early and plays itself out in a way that made the rest of the movie genuinely fascinating. 

If you watched the original Orphan, you know what happens to this family, but it is nice to see how we got here. Isabelle Fuhrman does a wonderful job reprising her role as Esther. It has been over a decade since she first played the role, and yet as soon as she ties her hair into pigtails, you still believe she is a little girl.

First Kill is significantly bloodier than its predecessor. There is a higher body count, and the kills are much more gruesome. Director William Brent Bell certainly does not hold back, if you like a lot of blood in your horror movies, you will be pleasantly surprised with this one.

For a movie that was never expected to have a sequel and never planned on being a franchise, Orphan: First Kill was a pleasant surprise. Orphan – First Kill is witty, clever, and just straight-up awesome, pumping new life into its creepy-kid formula. 

Releasing all over cinemas on 18th August 2022

PG – 15+

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